Friday, November 21, 2014

Hair Comb History Highlight #10: Golden Combs

René Lalique, 'Three Nymphs' hair comb of blonde horn, enamel and gold. Circa 1899. Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Though I have covered a large array of hair combs to admire here on the Hair Comb History Highlights series, I have somehow yet to cover gold combs! Though gold can be designed to look very contemporary, the material's use in jewelry and hair combs dates back millenia. Their are several ancient examples of gold hair pins and combs from all over the world but today we will be admiring their 19th century European counterparts.

The first few combs here are from the Regency (or Empire) era. Their distinctive shape, a tiara like curved comb with long thin tines, gives away their date. Called Empire combs or Josephine combs after Napoleon's reign in France and his wife's penchant for wearing the combs respectively. I think I will be doing a separate post entirely devoted to Empire combs soon!

Pearls, lapis, and gold decorate this French Empire comb, c. 1800.
French vermeil and faux garnet diadem crown / hair comb tiara, dating to the early 1800s. Embellished in neoclassical motifs, a patterned frieze accented by faux garnet beading surmounted by a gallery of scrolling openwork crowned by faceted cut 'garnets'. Plated in a high carat of 18k to 22k gold.
Empire comb, emblematic heading with Napoleonian laurel crowning motif, alternating with blue glass stones inlaid with powder of gold (certainly from Murano, Italy)
18K-gold, pearl, and lapis Victorian crown-shaped tiara on a tortoiseshell comb. c.1850.
Mid-Victorian era comb, gold, turquoise, and enamel on a tortoiseshell base


Antique 18kt Gold, Enamel, and Diamond Hair Comb, France, each fleur-de-lis motif with later bezel-set full-cut diamonds, black tracery enamel, and engraved accents
Emile Froment-Meurice, c. 1880, pierced and engraved gold, legacy of Madame la baronne Nathaniel de Rothschild.
Ornamental filigree golden band tiara hinged to a horn comb. UK, mid 19th century
Hair comb featuring a profile dragon on a wave, 
American, about 1910, MFA
Vintage Gold and Rose-Cut Diamond Hair Comb, Three -tine comb , 14 karat yellow gold and rose-cut diamond ornament, comb portion possibly animal horn. circa 1890-1910.
Edwardian gold an horn comb, circa 1900
Edwardian era gold, horn, and  enamel com

1 comment:

  1. My word, these are so radiantly beautiful! I'm struck by how some of them, such as the mid-Victorian turquoise one, look almost shockingly contemporary. It's not surprising to vintage folks like us that such is the case, but I would imagine that it would shock some contemporary fashionistas.

    ♥ Jessica

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